Monthly Archives: April 2006

Another Truthiness Meme About the Devils

On about a dozen occassions, Pierre McGuire (who usually knows better), Ed Olcyzk, and Ray Ferraro, apparently trying to address people’s concerns about the Devils have been pumping their offensive capability, about how they no longer dump and chase and are going for the 3rd and 4th goals.

Are these guys stuck in 1997 too?!! The Devils led the NHL in scoring in 2000-01. Yes, it’s true. Remember that. Read it. Check it. They haven’t played dump and chase since before the ‘A’ line days. Of course, they were 2nd only to Buffalo in goals against too, so people might remember that more. (That year was easily their best regular season.)

Emrick knows that, and he was the only one not to repeat it.

A broomful of SHGs

Awww, how cute. A powerplay goal with 1:27 left. Yes, J.D., this shows their fans they’re not just going to say goodbye. Sure. What explains their performance in the last half of this game and game 3? They were broken. The series ended when Ozolinsh scored an own-goal on Madden’s break away.

So much for the Rangers marketing season.

Na na na na hey hey goodbye…. SWEEP SWEEP SWEEP!

League Still Dreaming of 1997

Imagine a year where the Rangers, Flyers, Detroit, and Colorado are the final four teams. It’s what we’re told to expect every year. In the interim, ESPN, the NHL, and, now, OLN have been forced to make some excuses up for the Rangers, but they finally got them back in. Just sub in a southern team like Dallas, Florida, Carolina, or Tampa.

Well, that happened, if you remember in 1997, and then Detroit won, just like they’d been [i.e. the league et al.] wanting since at least 1994 (they wanted Detroit to face the Rangers in the final but San Jose ruined that).

The first hockey I watched was Olympic hockey, and the announcers were well within their rights to push for Team USA. The first Olympics I remember was 1984, and the US team there was in the shadow on the Miracle, and didn’t do so well. But isn’t it strange that three things all started happening at about the same time (1) Bettman (2) expanstion and (3) blatant pimping of certain teams by the media?

National broadcasts in this country show big market teams even if they are boring to watch. I’ll give you an example. There’s a decent chance that the second round will feature a Calgary-Edmonton matchup. If that’s the case, don’t you think that will make for better theater than some mid-season meaningless game between the Kings and the Rangers?

The NHL operates under a pervasive inferiority complex. They feel like they have to pimp the game in places it has no organic base and change it to make it appear more interesting to the casual observer.

People who dont’ even like sports like hockey if they’ve been to a game in person. These things spread like this: some core group of people really gets into something and others get interested, try it, and like it. This way you build by nourishing the most rabid fans and expanding outword. You don’t try to please people who are fickle and then fill in the middle until you reach depressed alienated former hardcore fans who have switched to college or junior viewing.

They shouldn’t have put teams in those southern cities until they had years or rabid support for an AHL team or some other organic sign of fandom. It diluted the talent pool, and that, more than anything caused the “dead puck” era.

Fucking incompetents.

Renney

In another act of desperation, Ranger head coach Tom Renney, obviously seeking to deflect criticism away from his bumbling, has accused the Devils–the Devils!–of diving. $10 says we see at least one diving call tonight.

Jagr Out Again

Sam Rosen told a Maple Leaf fan radio station today that Jagr said that it will be a “miracle” if he plays in Game 3, but he would be in the lineup if he could play even a little.

Rumor also has it that Lunquist will be back in net for game 3.

Jagr is out because of his own bad luck and a poor coaching decision by Renney. Renney’s “hunch” to put in Kevin Weekes backfired, and now if Lundquist loses game 3, his confidence could be shot forever, and we’ve seen what that can do to regular season goalies like Marty Turco, Patrick Lalime, and Dan Cloutier.

There have to be at least a few Rangers in the locker room that are starting to lose faith in their coach. Even still, what they need is not Jagr, a perennial self-interested non-playoff performer. (Who cares if he helped beat the Devils in the first round–he’s never won shit without Mario Lemieux around.)

They need players like Patrik Elias, John Madden, and Martin Brodeur. They have none.

Rag$ are the Republican$ of Ice Hockey

“If there is a weakness in Brodeur’s game, it’s the wrap around,” repeat the OLN corporate lackeys. Really? I have watched nearly every game that Brodeur has ever played and I have never noticed him to be more prone to the wrap around goal than any other goalie; indeed he is probably less prone to it. But because the Matteau and Graves goals have been replayed ten thousand times, and because the Murdoch NY Post wants to work the truthiness angle, and because they have the echo chamber to trumpet it, and because the neutered establishment barnacles in the NY Times (whose hockey reporter admitted that he had to look up the winner of the last Stanley Cup) are too lazy to do any actual reporting, this falsity gets repeated to the point where it becomes folk wisdom. Sounds like a classic Conservatron strawman ploy to me: from WMDs, to Dean is angry, to “flip flopper,” to Brodeur gives up the wrap around the tactic is the same only the subject matter is different.

In politics the nonsense fools enough opinion makers to establish “reality.” In ice hockey, the Rag$ try wrap around after wrap around and lose the first two games 10-2 while Brodeur stops 54 of 56 shots for a .964 save percentage.

And still the vast majority of the coverage surrounding the series focuses on the worst-of-Wall-Street-and-Staten-Island Rag$, despite Madden’s hat trick with two shorties, or Elias’ six point night.

The Rag$ and the Republican$ represent the worst of the human spirit.

HahahaahHAHahhaaaaHAHAH

It took me about 15 minutes to stop screaming after Madden scored his second goal. . . I need a cigarette. Whew.

Just when I thought I’d seen this movie before. . . winning game 2 and then hosed by the refs, down 5-3 including a double minor. . . Madden sticks it in ‘em.

Jagr, Lundquist out.

Continuing their apparent strategy of self-destruction, the Rangers are following up their 13 penalty performance by taking out the goaltender who got them into the playoffs in favor of a career backup on the theory that he beat the Devils in two games 4 years ago.

Also, let’s not forget Jagr’s self-inflicted injury, caused while he was inexplicably on the ice killing a penalty when the game was long since lost.

It’s the playoffs. Goaltending matters. Coaching matters. Experience matters. The Rangers, apparently, lack all three of these things.

Lombardi

Here’s what Dean Lombardi needs to do this summer:

* Hire Pat Quinn – the best unemployed coach
* Trade for Evgeni Nabokov – the best available goalie (salary much too high for a backup)
* Dump the salary of Pavol Demitra, Craig Conroy, and Jeremy Roenick, try to get some draft picks back.
* Make a serious effort at signing away Ed Jovonoski from Vancouver
* Make a serious effort at signing away Zdeno Chara from Ottawa
* Make a serious effort at signing a top center under 35 with Cup experience (e.g. Arnott)
* Retain Aaron Miller and Mattias Norstrom and keep them both happy.
* Draft well
* Have the balls to trade away the overachieving Lubomir Visnovsky while his value is high, and get something in return.
* Get rid of spare parts Eric Belanger, Derek Armstrong, and Mark Parrish and let the promising stable of younger players get some serious ice time.
* One more try for Frolov. If he doesn’t step up and play the top 6 role he shows signs of being good enough for, he should be traded before the new year.
* Hire much better scouts
* Drastically improve the quality of the farm system

If he can do all of that, his team will have a chance grabbing a low playoff seed next year, but will play for the big time for years after that.

Update: I forgot, most importantly:
Bring back the Silver and Black jersies. Serious gangsta rizzeal street cred.

Detroit

Could easily be down 2-0 by now. . . Are they headed for another upset? No, I don’t think they are. I think they’re just headed for a long series, longer than most people thought.

After the first games…

Who I’ve overrated. . . Dallas, Nashville. Who I’ve underrated. . . Montreal, Buffalo, New Jersey.

Hat tip to DJS who had Nashville earmarked. I didn’t catch enough of them. Following a team really pays off. I would love to have followed San Jose, but, inexplicably, they are blacked out on my Center Ice package. I do not get the Bay Area local channels, and they also black out the Kings (not the Ducks), but I get the Kings on the local FSN channel. So, I catch the Sharks only if they’re on a national broadcast.

Can anyone seriously wonder why Jagr has never lead a team on his own to anything? He’s too damn whiny. And the Rangers are taking runs at Jay Pandolfo? What??? Say you take him out–the next guy shadows Jagr. Go for it. Maybe they’re afraid to target Gionta, Gomez, or Elias, knowing that Jagr is the retribution.

Inside the mind of a Ranger fan

Hockeybird.com says that Lou Lamoriello being on the board of governors has and will unduly influence the referrees against the Rangers in the playoffs.

This kind of comedy is clearly what happens when you whip ‘em out and the ruler gives you bad results. You have to lower expectations and place the blame somewhere.

Even if it’s true, it’s just karma. As Marty pointed out in the Post this morning:

“Every single goal we scored, [Wayne] Gretzky asked the referee to review it, check it out upstairs. I don’t remember how many goals were disallowed that year,” Brodeur said.

“It was unbelievable. One of the referees picked up Wayne’s stick on the ice and gave it to him. I said, we’ve gotta get one of these guys.”

That’s the only thing I remembered that series for. I forgot all about Mr. Upstanding Hockey Messier’s dirty hit on Doug Gilmour. (Of course he wasn’t suspended — imagine if Bobby Holik had knocked Messier or Gretzky out? He’d be playing for beer in Ireland like Theo Fleury.)

That series’s obvious manipulation left such a deep impression on me that I seriously considered abandoning hockey as a sport after Brett Hull’s no-goal won Dallas (another NHL/ESPN favorite team, like the Rangers) the South’s first Stanley Cup (thereby vindicating Bettman’s expansion).

The difference this time is that the media promotes Jagr, but they don’t love him. They think he’s a whiny bitch. Once they had an out with Thornton, they stopped pushing him for MVP. Jagr’s no Gretzky, and he’s no Messier. That’s the only thing the Devils have going for them this time around.

First Round Upsets: Monte Carlo Scenarios

In a Monte Carlo model a data input is run through a series of unpredictable interrelated equations. After several runs the outputs’ tendencies become more apparent and point to a likely outcome, but that doesn’t mean that outliers are impossible. First round NHL upsets work the same way. They are unlikely but inordinately plausible because a good team will often coast towards the finish and will face a hungry team with nothing to lose and no pressure on them. This is enough for at least one Monte Carlo output where the favorite loses. Top teams tend to have balanced scoring, but in the playoffs the one 45 goal scorer on the eighth seed is more likely to break the stalemate than the five 25 goal scorers on the top team. Also, give any underdog three days to prepare for the top dog and, in league with the above factors, they have a punchers chance.

There are two top four teams (the top two seeds in either conference) that feel primed to be upset.

The Red Wings have easily won their perennial quest with the Avs over who is the NHL’s most overrated team. The Wings are plenty good, but no team benefited more from the new emphasis on inter-division play than they did. They got to play the Hawks, Jackets, and Blues a combined 24 times. To their credit they feasted on these also rans, going 21-1-2 for a total of 44 points. Absent these lay ups they are 60-16-8 and if you extrapolate that winning percentage through the rest of the season they are 53-21-8 for 114 points, still very good but not better than the other top teams. Subtract the goals scored against their weak divisional foes and they are down to about 2.8 per game, so the Wings are not quite the offensive juggernaut that they seem on paper. They feel like a team that has grown too accustomed to winning with a proficient but not hungry effort that could lose to a team on a roll. If San Jose has stayed in the eighth seed I would have picked them in a heartbeat. The Oilers, however, have not done anything to differentiate themselves this season. Sad as it is, Peca has never been the same player since getting cheap-shoted by Darcy Tucker in 2003. I can only imagine two in ten scenarios where the Wings lose: a complete choke job or else a bevy of injuries. Wings in 5.

Listen to the Hurricanes announcers and you will hear the proud and magnanimous satisfaction of one who has finally gained respect. It means something when Toronto, New York, and Detroit come to Raleigh now and it never really did before even after the Fluke of ‘02. The Canes have earned it, they’ve joined the elite long term and that is the goal they were playing for this season. Their game is interesting because the chance that either team can score is always higher than usual. They are prolific finishers because other teams eventually crack under that pressure. But the soft passes out of the defensive zone that forwards speed up to, and the dash down the wing and throwing the puck in front of the net model feels like a style that a coach can dissect with enough preparation. The Canes do not have quite the tenacity or rugged defensemen to win an along the boards series. The Canes ho-hummed their way down the stretch and even though the Habs choked a bit at the end they still were the more cohesive team and had the better play in goal. I can see 5 scenarios where the Habs win this one and five where the Canes win, so the eleventh one that actually happens will have to be the tiebreaker. You heard it here first: Habs in 6.

The Rest:

Dallas versus Colorado
Jose “Propecia” Theodore is the Alexei Kovalev of goalies: tons of talent, one spectacular season, and now peaks of brilliance in between seas of above-averageness. The Stars have more depth, more grit and a better goalie. Time for Woody Paige to begin his Rocky Mountain oysters summer with his pygmy goat. Stars in 5.

San Jose Sharks versus Nashville Predators
With Vokoun this would be a great series; the Predators were my pre-season pick as the Western Conference dark horse and have a good mix of skill, veteran savvy and work ethic. The Sharks have the talent to score on anyone; a good-enough defense, a hot goalie and a capable back up. In some future year genetic testing will mean that Vokoun can never get any kind of insurance because he is likely to be indisposed at crucial times thus leaving his colleagues in the lurch. For now, Sharks in 4.

Anaheim Ducks versus Calgary Flames
This has all the chops of a great series. The Ducks have a more dynamic offense, but the Flames have the best all around player. The Flames are hard to play against, but the grit of players like Salei, Vishnevsky and especially Selanne has always been underrated. The Ducks have the best veteran defensemen in Niedermeyer and the Flames have the best young defensemen in Phaneuf. Both teams have goalies that have earned accolades. Time for honesty though, would the Flames be given as much credit as they have if they had not clawed their way to the Finals in ’04? I don’t think so and the breaks won’t let them get on a roll this time—the breaks have never been kind to the team that loses in the Finals. Each game will be tough and probably decided by one goal (not counting ENGs), but when it all comes down to dust it’s the Ducks in 6.

Ottawa versus Tampa Bay
The ‘Ning’s forwards are championship caliber and their defense is good enough to get the job done, and they possess some of the hard to kill quality of a defending champion. Too bad they are stuck with two backup goalies. The Sens do look ripe for the picking; Emery would be bad on an average team, but this is the perfect series for them. Ottawa has too much firepower for the TB goal keeps. Sens win the first two easily. The “Ning gut out game three, lose game four in OT and then fold like colored paper in an origami class in game 5. Sens in 5.

Buffalo versus Philadelphia
Other than goaltending the one thing that separates Philly from New Jersey is that Philly has no continuity. In NJ a star player – Broten, Gilmour, Mogilny, Niuwendyk – will come and go but a definitive line will stay. For a long time it was Holik-McKay-Whoever. Now it’s Madden-Pandolfo-Whoever. If the Flyers had that sort of intestinal fortitude they might be able to clench their teeth through this one while awaiting Forsberg’s groin to heal. Instead, every year their team is different. Right now they play with spirit with Forsberg, and meekly without him. If Forsberg is close to 100% they have the edge. If not, they do not. No goals through the side of the net this year. Buffalo in 6.

Rangers versus New Jersey Devils
NJ is for Vendetta. the Devils have extracted revenge on Ottawa and Pittsburgh. Now it’s time to add the Rags’ smarmy scalp to the mantelpiece. I was worried that the Devils were due for a fall once their streak was broken, but seeing them come back against Montreal convinces me that they have filled the leadership void left by Stevens and Niedermeyer and have the sand to rebound from a tough loss. Quietly, Gomez has become one of the best players in the league metastasizing from a passer to a scorer, passer, trap breaker, back checker, pest and clutch player. He is on the verge of being Mike Madono circa 98-01. Say what you will about injuries and the flop at the finish, but being below .500 since the Olympics indicates that the Rags started reading too many Larry Brooks columns and got full of themselves; they’ve lost what made them good through 60 games. The Devils can out tough them, out discipline them, out coach them and have a better goaltender. The only unknown key in the series is Colin White. If the groin is worse than advertised than Jagr could roll and the momentum could shift. The first game will be more crucial than usual and if the Devils lose it we could be in for a long series. If they win it then a sweep is not out of the question. The absurd favorable calls the Rags got in the past had more to do with Messier et al than with them being
the Manhattan team. The Devils have the veteran winners now. Regardless, there is no BS skate in the crease rule this year to serve as the flimsy veneer for rigged officiating. Devils in 5.

Eastern Conference Matchups

Brodeur, Osgood, and Hasek are the only goalies in the playoffs who have won Cups. Other than that, only Giguere and Kiprusoff have even been to the finals. Osgood hasn’t been the #1 goalie in Detroit, and Hasek may not play the rest of the year…

(1) Ottawa versus (8) Tampa Bay
Ottawa in 4
Rumor has it that Hasek isn’t close to being ready yet. Whether he will make it back remains to be seen, but it won’t matter against the Lightning. They are a shadow of the team that won the Cup. Their three leading forwards have lost their drive, apparently weighed down by Cup rings.

(2) Carolina versus (7) Montreal
Carolina in 6
Carolina is a much more “for real” team this year than they were when they made their run to the finals. And I’ve watched Martin Gerber since he came into the league, and I have full respect for him, but he has yet to prove himself, and, until he does, he’s a question mark in my book. Other than that, they have just about all the pieces to take a serious run. Montreal doesn’t.

(3) New Jersey versus (6) New York
New Jersey in 5
The last time the Devils went into the playoffs even close to this hot (2000), they won the Cup. They aren’t going to be stopped by the Rangers this time. The Rangers have to be complemented for finally doing a few things to win instead of just look good, but the end of the season has shown that they haven’t completed that transition. They are too inexperienced in the playoffs to overcome this challenge.

(4) Buffalo versus (5) Philadelphia
Philadelphia in 6
Buffalo has run hot and cold this season. They have a wonderful stable of young players, experienced coaching, and good goaltending. But they lack the experience of the Flyers. That’s not the only difference. The Flyers are a well balanced, well constructed team. If they start Nittymaki, they have the chance to finally establish a winning goalie. I think the Flyers are underrated because they’ve been overrated. Don’t look past them.

That sets up a very interesting second round, does it not?

Western Conference Matchups

(1) Detroit versus (8) Edmonton
Detroit in 7
Detroit hasn’t had to play a meaningful game in a long, long time. Also, they have some injuries and some questions in goal. All this means is that they will have to take a little bit longer to off Edmonton than they expected. Dwayne Roloson wasn’t the answer, and I still can’t comprehend how a team led by Chris Pronger, Sergei Samsonov, and Michael Peca isn’t better than this, but they’re not.

(2) Dallas versus (7) Colorado
Dallas in 6
There is potential for upset here, but Colorado doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders lately. If I thought Theodore was really back, I would pick them to surprise Dallas, but without that, these teams are fairly evenly matched. Dallas has been playing better and Marty Turco is solid.

(3) Calgary versus (6) Anaheim
Anaheim in 6
Fine, I’m making a homer pick. I didn’t in 2003 when I knew this team was ready for great things and I looked stupid. The question in this series is simple: if the refs are really going to let the new NHL come out in the playoffs, the Ducks win this series handily. If they don’t, Calgary will clutch and grab and Marchment its way into the second round. If I were the Ducks, I would let it be known that any attempt to injure one of their players will be met with retaliation against Mikke Kiprusoff (not Jerome Iginla). But the Ducks have more depth at forward and their defense is only slightly worse. Same for goaltending.

(4) Nashville versus (5) San Jose
San Jose in 4
Sorry. Nothing’s going to happen here. 10 years ago, Kariya might have been enough of a difference maker, but San Jose’s goaltending was better even before Vokoun went out. San Jose will blast them in the most lopsided series in the first round.

The Republican Party: Refuge of the Lasts

Conservatron Congressman Peter Hoekstra has managed to garner the release of all documents related to pre-war intelligence concerning Iraq onto the Internet. The purpose, clearly, is to give ready ammunition to the hordes of Conservatron bloggers who will no doubt parse the data to prove the bogus OBL/Iraq connection, because an unemployed Internet addict in Alabama is surely able to cherry pick intelligence far better than Generalissimo Bush’s minions. Oh, and Jesus taught the Sage of Alabama Arabic and farsi one night, too… well, enough to get by anyway.

Like a frustrated feline clawing for a place to pee in a dirty litter box, the Republican illiterati is in a breathless scratch for a shred of homophobic outrage or anti-stem cell research mouth foaming to toss to its base jackals. It’s not sticking. Gays are becoming boring, lesbians are hot and too many people think stem cell research is a good idea.

The Party of Lincoln is descending into the Refuge of the Lasts. That is, the last people who disregard evolution, the last people who ignore global warming, the last people who still believe that Hussein and bin Laden were conspirators and that Iraq had WMDs, and, sooner than you think, the last xenophobes and the last homophobes, and maybe maybe one day the last coded racists and anti-Semites. The Republican Party is fortifying the Castle of the Crazies. That is, the front porch of lunatic carpe mortis (seize the death!) eschantonologists, the den of Goof City physicians who diagnose strangers via satellite link, the home offices of think tank encrustations turned political appointees whose ability to defend their ideas in reasoned debate has long atrophied forcing them to repeat their talking points from further and further inside their hermit crab shells.

The vastly overrated Bush patsy John McCain has reasoned that he must floss his teeth with Jerry Falwell’s ass hairs to win the Republican nomination. And he must. No Republican can gain any true leadership over the Party without breaking bread with the worst bigots and crooks America has to offer. All Democrats need do is have the guts to point this out by highlighting what these Conservatron demon piglets say, and what the Giulianis and McCains abide, when they speak for themselves and respond with the brilliant tropes of Obama’s convention speech. It’s the Party of Hope versus the Party of Hate.

Beware of Sharks

The Sharks just punched their ticket to the second round. Chances are, they will face a team that has a tough time in the first round, greasing their way into the third round. They are peaking right now, and, I think they have a damn good shot to make it to the finals.

NHL Regular Season's Remaining Questions

The Ducks next game is the most important one of the year. Not of the regular season–of the year. If they fail to beat San Jose, they will be relegated to playing either Calgary or Dallas in the first round. The Ducks have been pretty terrible against both of those teams.

They have absolutely dominated Nashville–and that was when they had Vokoun. If they can win their next two games (which admittedly includes one against the Flames), they will secure the fifth spot, and realistically, a trip to the second round. (They would be tied with San Jose for points and wins, but would have a 5-2-1 record against them, winning the tie breaker.)

Miracle runs to the Cup don’t happen in the first round. Lame upsets do. Miracle runs start in the second round. Just ask the Ducks.

All that’s left to decide out east is the pecking order, realistically. I would say Atlanta could make it if they had a head-to-head against Tampa, but they don’t.

So, here are my picks (ie, who I would vote for, not who I think will get it) for the various awards:

Hart – Winner: Joe Thornton. Finalists: Jagr, Niedermayer.
Vezina – Winner: Mikka Kiprusoff. Finalists: Brodeur, Gerber.
Selke – Winner: Daniel Alfredsson. Finalists: Pahlsson, Morrow.
Norris – Winner: Niedermayer. Finalists: Lidstrom, Zubov.
Adams – Winner: Laviolette. Finalists: Ruff, Lamoriello.
Calder – Winner: Phaneuf. Finalists: Ovechkin, Crosby.
Masterson – Winner: Selanne

The Massachusetts Health Care Plan

So does this give Mitt Romney something to run on for President? A sort of Great Society annex comparable to Bush’s NCLB and Medicare D?

Maybe, but critics right and left have their heads too far up the anus of their various think tanks to really conquer this issue. America is not ready for single payer, except for maybe the 15% or so without coverage. On the right, empty shrieks of communism ignore the fact that people are genuinely concerned about the issue.

People are used to paying for home owners insurance, assessments on their property, and auto insurance. Some really adamant libertarians probably complain, but, you see, they’ll never get anywhere because people already have this in their expectations.

The real power of the fears people cite of foreign health care plans is not in the long waits for a hip replacement or anything like that. Liberals dismiss this saying thsoe countries get better results for less money.

Yeah, sure. But it will require a major change in people’s lives. I know that’s a lame reason, but it’s true. It’s why there’s no real groundswell on this issue. That, and the fact that those oft-cited 45 million people are, frankly, either marginalized or apathetic.

That bottom 15% of the electorate probably doesn’t have much power, and is certainly not a taste-making class.

Incremental change, resisted at all by conservatives, and never enough for liberals, as with most things is the way to go. We should start with a Massachusetts like plan and go from there. At least it’s an improvement.

Iran.

On February 3, 2006, I wrote:

Even if we pulled everything we had out of Korea, Europe, and the low-level readiness units stateside, we could only fight to a stalemate with the Iranians in a conventional war at this point. Of course, we would establish air supremacy in less than 24 hours, and I don’t imagine Iran’s navy would be able to do jack to ours in the Gulf–but could we possibly do the job with air power and an overstretched army–and what exactly would they be defending? Iraq? Where would/could they retreat? Israel?

The only way out of this is to use nuclear weapons, and if we do that without buying off the Russians, we’re probably at least in Cold War II. I can’t play out the scenario much further than that, but it’s scary.

Yeah, that’s me, the amateur military strategist. Now Sy Hersh confirms that this is exactly what’s going on. We are planning and training pilots to nuke Iran.

This might be the real “Wag The Dog” incident. With his numbers bottoming out in the prelude to the midterm elections, and scandal reaching his office, the President needs to create a bigger distraction than 9/11 and a bigger bamboozlement than his Social Security plan to get out of all of this, and nuclear war with Iran just may be it.

You stupid, ignorant, fearful, chickenshit fucking piece of shit voters who put this man in to office twice. America is dying because of you.

Resch: "Just for the record, the Rangers are playing a trap."

Word.

Think the Rangers finally playing to win instead of pleasing media jerkoffs’ hockey orthodoxy has anything to do with their 9 year playoff drought ending? Years of lame excuses by the New York media blaming the Devils for their style of play, when all they did was play to win… Now, we’re sure it’s ok because the Rangers are doing it. Double standards.

Well, they still don’t always win.

MATTEAU! MATTEAU! MATTEAU! GIONTA! GIONTA! GIONTA!”

Bubble Teams

The East isn’t even in question any more. It’s just a matter of positioning.

Out west, it looks like the predictions below are taking shape. Vancouver has now played 77 games and only has 87 points. San Jose has 85 with *three* games in hand on Vancouver. The only hope for the Nucks is to beat SJ in the home and home coming up.

The Kings still think they have a chance, on the theory that their injured players returning will kick them into high gear. That’s rarely the case this quickly. They are in less than equal standing to Vancouver: 85 points with 76 played. They’ll need almost win out to get it–probably about 95 points. I see them getting only 3-5 more points. Bummer.

UPDATE:

I just wanted to comment on the play of the Canucks in the last two games. This team has problems. I don’t know enough about them to say if it’s Crawford or certain players, or what. But based on their recent play, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs. They would get swept. They made play after play that told me that they didn’t care about winning.